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Kansas Senate panel debating proposed ban on procedure used in 8 percent of state's abortions

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TOPEKA, Kansas — A Kansas Senate committee is preparing to consider a ban on a procedure used in 8 percent of the abortions performed in the state.

The bill up for debate Thursday in the Public Health and Welfare Committee was drafted by abortion opponents who describe the targeted procedure as dismembering a fetus.

The bill would prohibit a procedure known as dilation and evacuation and designate it in state law as a "dismemberment abortion." Doctors would not be allowed to use forceps, clamps or other similar instruments to cut up a fetus and remove it from the womb in pieces.

Abortion rights advocates say the procedure is sometimes the safest way to terminate a pregnancy and also is sometimes used during the first trimester.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback supports the measure.

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